After 23 years of serving in the United States Air Force, Ken Couturier knew it was time to make a change. His oldest child was in her seventh school in seventh grade due to his rigorous travel and deployments, so he opted to retire in 2008 and find stability for her and the rest of his four children. As a Comstock Park High School graduate, Ken knew West Michigan was the place for his family but he had very little knowledge of Hamilton, Michigan.

“We looked Hamilton up online and liked what we saw with the extra-curricular activities, but I remember way back when I was in school and we would come down here for sports,” Couturier recalled. “I remember coming down here on a bus trip and it was such a long drive, all I saw was corn, corn, and more corn and I thought to myself, “Who would ever want to live out in Hamilton, Michigan?” Well, here I am living here.”

Couturier and his wife chose to enroll his four children into Hamilton Community Schools and they immediately fell in love with it and all of the offerings. Despite being retired from the service, Ken wanted to stay involved in a part-time job. After working a few different places, he knew something was missing.

“I was missing something,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I was missing being a part of a community or being a part of something bigger than just a job. When you’re in the Air Force, you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. That’s when a friend of mine told me to check out Hamilton High School.”

With only a custodial job open for him, Couturier remembers reluctantly accepting the position in 2012. Despite his doubts at first, he fell in love with it.

“Being in the school at night and being where all of the extra-curricular events take place is awesome, and you get to see the kids and parents all at once. This town rallies around this place and the high school is where so much goes on, I really enjoy that,” he said choking up.

Couturier says it was the teamwork, togetherness, and compliments that continued to fuel his fire for the past 12 years.

“The compliments our team gets from parents about how clean we keep the school is nice. We have a great team here, our custodians work really hard and they take it personally, it’s more than just a job to them,” he added.

Not only has Couturier been a second-shift custodian at Hamilton High School, he has also balanced being a substitute bus driver and driving for a lot of athletic teams and extracurricular events. He will retire from his custodial position at the end of this school year and stop driving buses at the end of November. While discussing his retirement, it was difficult for him to wipe away the tears.

“Everybody I work with is great, I’m emotional because of the people here, it’s hard to leave the people.”

Congratulations, Ken! Thank you for your dedication and service to Hamilton Community Schools.